Stuttering may start with repeating consonants (k, g, t). If stuttering becomes worse, words and phrases are repeated.
Later, vocal spasms develop. There is a forced, almost explosive sound to speech. The person may appear to be struggling to speak.
Stressful social situations and anxiety can make symptoms worse.
Symptoms of stuttering may include:
- Feeling frustrated when trying to communicate
- Pausing or hesitating when starting or during sentences, phrases, or words, often with the lips together
- Putting in (interjecting) extra sounds or words ("We went to the...uh...store")
- Repeating sounds, words, parts of words, or phrases ("I want...I want my doll," "I...I see you," or "Ca-ca-ca-can")
- Tension in the voice
- Very long sounds within words ("I am Booooobbbby Jones" or "Llllllllike")
Other symptoms that might be seen with stuttering include:
- Eye blinking
- Jerking of the head or other body parts
- Jaw jerking
Children with mild stuttering are often unaware of their stuttering. In more severe cases, children may be more aware. Facial movements, anxiety, and increased stuttering may occur when they are asked to speak.
Some people who stutter find that they don't stutter when they read aloud or sing.